If you are anything like us the winter blues have seriously set in. The sun hasn't appeared in days, you're quickly losing vitamin D and getting restless sitting inside... we're with you. Especially this past week, the husband's telling me it was called a 'polar vortex?'
And what makes it worse, everyone you know is spending the rest of the winter in the Bahamas or some like climate. To our friends on vacation, your margarita on the rocks is making our hot cocoa look lame. Hoooomigosh... where's my bottle of Baileys, I lost my bottle of Baileys, help me find my bottle of Baileys.
Chin up Charlies... things here in Grand Rapids, Michigan are looking up. Here's a list of some wintery fun things we at Mid City Love have been keeping ourselves busy with:
1. FREDRICK MEIJER GARDENS
While the gardens does offer romantic horse drawn sleigh rides through the outdoor sculpture park over Christmas break, the highlight of the winter season at Fredrick Meijer is the toy train and the city through which it rides. This year (the display changes every few years) the city is constructed of all natural materials: twigs, leaves, bark, moss... you name it, and the city resembles buildings found in downtown Grand Rapids - so cool.
Picture: Part of the display at the Gardens. This is a mini Mangiamo - where Jeff and I had our first date. If you look close enough you can even see the mini painting of Mona Lisa.
2. ICE SKATING in ROSA PARKS CIRCLE
I applaud the city of Grand Rapids every year for setting up and maintaining the ice rink in Center City at Rosa Parks Circle - a solid shout out to the local sponsors as well. Skate rental and admission are pennies! One hundred pennies to be exact and while the rink is quite the popular hang out, you don't mind the crowd or cold because the cost is damn near non-exsistent. Go skate and hold someone's hand.
Picture: Earlier this year with my Young Life girls from Byron Center. Afterwards we hoped across the street for frozen yogurt to warm up - they have hot cocoa.
3. MOVIE NIGHT we recommend THE HOBBIT (cause we're nerds like that)
We love movies and if you are looking for a good flick check out The Hobbit at Celebration North. It's a long one so come prepared. Last year we had one of those refillable popcorn buckets you can purchase for only $32 that allows you refill your bucket for free for 6 months. Pretty solid deal if you like popcorn and go to the movies a lot. You might also consider getting a large soda. I'll be honest and share with you that we often bring a flask of Captain Morgans to spice up our coke. Even Bilbo needs a little Captain spice. Also, worth a mention if you're into the frozen yogurt craze, The Pump House is a self serve frozen yogurt shop across the street from the movie theatre that has indoor bench swings to enjoy whilst eating yogurt topped with candy.
Picture: We totally watched the first Hobbit movie at home before seeing the second in theaters.
4. PANDO SNOW TUBING
Skiing and snow boarding in Michigan are crap. It's not worth your time or the $60 lift ticket. Snow tubing however.... Pando Park in Rockford (about 20 minutes north from downtown Grand Rapids) is where it's at. If there's anything that keeps you feeling young it's putting on pink snow pants and a hat with a poof ball on top. The cost is $20/adult during the 'holiday' season, but goes down to $12 after the crowds have thinned. We highly suggest wearing snow pants with pockets - you'll need somewhere to keep your flask.
Pictured: With friends Ryan and Amanda in December. We raced down the hills changing up rules with each run - backwards, two by two, standing, etc.
5. DRINKS at THE BROADWAY BAR
Everyone must experience the spectacle that is the Broadway Bar at least once a season. If you've never heard of it, it's a happy little place (and I mean little - it's elbow to elbow in there) on the northwest side of Grand Rapids. Located conveniently on Broadway Avenue, this bar celebrates the winter season by decorating every inch of their space with dancing Santas, flashing lights, a toy train that runs on a track around the space, reindeer... really anything you can think of that indicates the Christmas cheer. They pour stiff drinks, have friendly service, and I can almost guarantee you won't walk out of there without posting a photo to instagram.
Picture: Friend Ashley and I at enjoying the scene and some cocktails over winter break.